LONDON — Two Olympic gold medals are just fine with Gabby Douglas. Same for Aly Raisman, though that bronze was pretty sweet, too.

While Douglas, the all-around champion, failed to add to her medal haul Tuesday, Raisman wrapped up the Olympics in style. Her gold on floor exercise was the first for a U.S. woman, and her bronze on balance beam was a bit of karmic payback.

Douglas may have won the most prestigious gymnastics title – all-around champion – but Raisman leaves as the most decorated of the Fierce Five with three medals.

“To say that I even almost had four medals, that makes me even more happy,” the U.S. captain said, referring to an earlier tiebreak that snatched away a bronze. “It definitely went better than I thought it would.”

Good thing, too, because the American medal count needed a boost. The six U.S. medals are the fewest since 2000, and the men were a bust. After all the big talk about challenging China and Japan for the team gold, Danell Leyva’s all-around bronze was their only medal.

But the three golds – team, all-around and vault – are the most for the U.S. since the boycotted games of 1984, and the women got the prizes that really matter: their first team title since the Magnificent Seven in 1996, and a third straight all-around champion.

“Overall I think the competition went really well,” said Douglas. “I’m so happy, going home with two Olympic gold medals and a couple of titles under my belt. I’m so happy for Aly. She deserves to be up on that podium.”

Not so happy was Jordyn Wieber, who leaves without an individual medal after finishing seventh on floor exercise.

The Olympics have been one bummer after another for the world champion. She arrived as the favorite to amass the most medals but failed to even qualify for the all-around. Now she’s got six weeks in a walking boot with what is believed to be a stress fracture in her right leg.

“It’s a little bit of disappointment overall,” Wieber said. “But at the same time, leaving with a gold medal is more than I could ask for, and it’s so cool to be a part of that team.”

China wrapped up with four gold medals after Deng Linlin won balance beam and Feng Zhe claimed the title on parallel bars. Epke Zonderland won gold on high bar, the first medal for a Dutch man and only the second Olympic medal overall for the Netherlands in the sport.

As for Raisman, it seems only fitting she leaves with the most medals of the Americans.

Raisman doesn’t have Douglas’ bubbly personality or bright smile, and seems almost mechanical in comparison. Raisman doesn’t have Wieber’s resume, either. U.S. Coach John Geddert joked he would nickname her “Four” for the times she’s just missed the podium.

But her steadiness and reliability made her a favorite of the national team coordinator, Martha Karolyi, and that consistency paid off bign.

Raisman was dismayed at falling just short of the podium in last week’s all-around competition. She and Aliya Mustafina finished with the same score, but the Russian got the bronze on a tiebreak.

So it was more than a little satisfying to wind up on the right end of the rules Tuesday, bumping Catalina Ponor out of the bronze on balance beam.

“A gold medal is a gold medal, but I definitely felt like (beam) was redemption from the other night in the all-around,” Raisman said. “I was in the same exact position but it went in my favor this time.”

Raisman initially finished fourth with a score of 14.966. But she questioned it, and judges added an extra tenth to her routine’s difficulty after a review. That gave her and Ponor identical scores of 15.066, but Raisman got the bronze because her execution score was higher – 8.766 to Ponor’s 8.466.

And it freed her to let loose on floor exercise, her best event.

“I felt like I had nothing to lose,” Raisman said. “It was going to be my last memory for London, so I just wanted to make it count and enjoy it.”

Her tumbling passes were some of the most difficult, and she reached such great height that high jumpers would be envious. Her landings were not only secure, one was so powerful it all but shook the floor. Raisman was impressed with herself, mouthing “wow” after she saluted the judges.

When her score, a 15.6, was posted, teammate McKayla Maroney yelled “whoa!” so loudly from the stands it could be heard across the arena.

Five gymnasts followed her but none came close. When reigning Olympic champion Sandra Izbasa landed her final tumbling run on her head, Raisman let herself exhale. And smile.

“It was definitely the best floor routine that I’ve ever done,” she said. “To have it be at the Olympic Games, in the finals, is just really amazing and just a dream come true. That’s what you work for your whole life.”

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.